Q&A fireplace safety

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New Member
Staff member
Nov 27, 2012

Two years ago my husband and I bought a seven year old house that has a masonry fireplace. The previous owner never used the fireplace, and said that he was planning on converting it to gas, but never got around to it. We know very little about fireplaces, but would like to use it; we're just not sure if it is safe to use (for wood burning or gas logs). The firebox looks to be constructed of the same brick that was used to build our house; it does not look like fire brick. There is no flu or anything in the chimney. I can look straight up the chimney. There is a cap on top. Could the fireplace be safely used for wood burning or gas logs? We would like to use gas logs if we can, but we don't like the looks of a gas insert. Thanks for any information you can give us.


If the chimney is not lined with terra cotta (orange or red tile), then it is not up to code for wood burning. It may be safe for gas logs, only and inspection by a certified sweep would tell you this.

It will be easy to bring the fireplace up to compliance, especially if you intend to install a wood or gas burning insert. Stainless steel liners can be placed in the chimney and connected to your hearth appliance. If you want to use to as an open fireplace, this is a bit more difficult since the liner must be much larger in size. A local chimney sweep (certified) should be able to help.

http://www.homesaver.com describes some lining systems.

Link: Homesaver Chimney Lining
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